Carper Statement on Senate Approval of Nationwide GMO Food Labeling Legislation

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.) released the following statement after the Senate approved a bipartisan bill to require the Secretary of Agriculture to establish a nationwide mandatory labeling requirement for food containing genetically modified organisms (GMO).

“I’ve said many times that my most important job is being a father. My wife and I always wanted to ensure our boys had healthy and nutritious food, so I understand the calls from parents who want to know more about the food they are putting on their table. The Stabenow-Roberts compromise on GMO labeling that passed the Senate this evening will help all consumers make more informed choices, no matter where they live in America.

“Part of our job in Congress is to ensure that our federal regulations set forth a reasonable framework for American businesses so they can grow and thrive. A week ago, the country’s first GMO labeling law took effect in Vermont, but that law only regulates food being sold within that state’s lines. As a former governor, I know a patchwork approach to regulations that apply to interstate commerce is very problematic. Businesses large and small need certainty and predictability to succeed, and waiting for each state to approve its own labeling rules would create a haphazard and unmanageable regulatory landscape.

“Therefore, it’s absolutely critical that we act on the federal level to create labeling requirements that give consumers the information they need and deserve, without creating a logistical nightmare that would stifle American businesses.

“Under the Stabenow-Roberts compromise, in the next two years, all foods that contain GMOs will be labeled with a QR code that sends consumers directly to the producer’s website and outlines clear information about what’s in the product. That means consumers in the dozens of states that haven’t yet acted to require GMO labeling will have better information about their food, no matter where they buy it. A little common sense goes a long way, and this is a common sense solution to an issue our constituents have asked us to address.

“Not only am I pleased by the agreement we’ve reached, but I’m also pleased by the way we got here. I’m an optimist by nature, and I hope the bipartisan work we’ve done, led by Senators Stabenow and Roberts, reminds our constituents they too can be optimistic about the ability of Congress to get things done.

“We talk often about the overwhelming scientific data that proves our climate is changing at a troubling rate, and that humans are the primary drivers of it. While there are some critics of this compromise who assert we don’t go far enough to protect Americans from GMOS, on this issue, too, the scientific data is overwhelming. In May, the National Academy of Sciences released an independent report that determined genetically engineered crops are just as safe to eat as conventional crops. More recently, more than 100 Nobel laureates sent a letter to Greenpeace, the United Nations and governments around the world, urging them to end opposition to GMOs.

“The federal government should take a reasonable, principled and science-based approach to address the issue of GMO labeling – and that’s exactly what this bipartisan bill does. I thank Senators Stabenow and Roberts for working so hard to achieve a compromise that is a win for consumers, companies and farmers, and one that shows the country that Congress can work together across the aisle to get things done, even on particularly hard issues like this one.”